Travelers to United’s Terminal C who haven’t been through it in a number of months may have design shock.
There are or will be 55 new restaurants, gourmet takeouts, and kiosks serving authentic ramen, dumplings, eggs benedict, and Swedish meatballs as well as pizza, sandwich wraps, and hot steaming coffee.
And technology is front and center, with iPads replacing counter ordering at many of the eateries. The iPads are ideal for flyers who just want to “be alone.”
It is a drastically different looking Terminal C, brought to life by OTG Management of New York, which operates restaurants in dozens of airports after starting out in the Philadelphia International Airport two decades ago.
OTG and United Airlines partnered to hire the Rockwell Group, Parts and Labor Design, David Mexico Group, and Crème, to radically redesign the 100,000-square-foot terminal. The tab for the new look has reached more than $120 million.
Some of America’s (and France’s) best chefs, among them Alain Ducasse, Alex Guarnaschelli and Jacques Torres, have created menus for the new restaurants, bars and foodstands.
One element common to all: an iPad at every seat, for a total of 6,000 tablets throughout the terminal. United Airlines customers can pay their checks using frequent-flier miles and monitor flight info by scanning their boarding passes.
OTG says Terminal C is now the second-largest customer-facing iPad platform in the world, behind Apple’s retail stores.
Soon there will be a few convertible dining spaces as some of the restaurants change from a morning bagel bakery to an evening Italian deli with the turn of a wall. OTG says rotating signage and sliding walls will allow vendors to make the most of the glitzy new post-security dining spaces.
All restaurants will be in place by 2016.
Everyone’s waiting for Dale Talde’s world famous dumplings, sold from his new Little Purse restaurant; ramen from Kaedama Ramen Bar; New American style classics from chef Marc Forgione at his new restaurant, Classified; and drinks at SRF by Lure Fishbar chef Josh Capon. In the meantime, travelers can sample the fare from Michelin-starred celebrity chefs whose toques are already working busy airport hours.
Grab a snack
CIBO Market Express: Mid-level Check-in Door #2, another at Door 3, Upper Level, another at Bag Claim #6, another at Bag Claim #9. A modern airport convenience store, where travelers (or Uber drivers) can buy beverages and packaged snacks.
Dunkin’ Donuts: Bag Claim #3. America runs on it. Dunkindonuts.com. (973) 623-8888. Open until 10 p.m.
Starbucks: Arrivals Level International. Coffees of all sizes and flavors, chai, breads and croissants, and sweets. Since 1991 when Starbucks opened its first airport coffee shop in Seattle/Portland Airport, the company has been providing sustenance to air travelers who need their caffeine fix. Starbucks.com. Open until 10 p.m.
World Bean: Bag Claim #6. Coffees, hot and cold, fresh-made lattes, teas, and other beverages. There are croissants, scones, and muffins, and egg sandwiches available in the mornings.
Have a meal
All sit-down restaurants are beyond security.
Grab a snack
Auntie Anne’s: Gates C120-139. Serving the chain’s famous pretzels, pretzel hot dogs, and refreshing lemonades, some fruit-flavored. Try the cheddar-stuffed pretzel nuggets. auntieannes.com (973) 624-1111.
Boars Head Deli: Gates C120-139. Sandwiches and wraps. Cheese and vegetarian options. Serves a hot breakfast.
CIBO Express Gourmet Market: Near Checkpoint to Gates C70-99, at Gates C70-99, near checkpoint to Gates C101-115, and also at Gates C101-115. A modern airport convenience store, where travelers can buy beverages, yogurts, and packaged snacks to eat in the terminal or on the plane.
Jamba Juice: Gates C120-139. Fruit juices, smoothies, breakfast wraps, and healthy options such as steel-cut oatmeal and energy bowls. Jambajuice.com. (973) 424-0888.
The Grove (kiosk): one at Gates C70-99 near Gate C83 and another near Gate C94. A juice bar with grab-and-go snacks.
Have a meal
Abruzzo Italian Steakhouse: Gates C70-99. One of three restaurants in Terminal C where chef Mario Carbone designed the menu. Focuses on beef cuts and burgers but also serves a hot breakfast. Serves alcohol.
Caps Beer Garden: Gates C120-139. Brooklyn chef standout Dale Talde delivers an Asian-style beer garden featuring an expansive list of international beers. Guests can choose from a tasty selection of bar bites and entrees, then pair them with Caps’ beer selections.
Casciano Italian Specialties: Gates C70-99. Chef Mario Carbone and partner Rich Torrisi gained acclaim when they opened Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York in 2009. Carbone’s menu at Casciano’s Italian Specialties centers on rotisserie-style meats, like slow-roasted porchetta, roast beef, and chicken.
Custom Burger: one at Gates C70-99 and another at Gates C120-139. Beef purveyor to stars of the New York chef world (and Shake Shack), butcher Pat LaFrieda has these two restaurants in Terminal C. It’s Build-Your-Own-Burger all the way, with toppings and sauces. Choose from the classic Americana, a basic cheeseburger on a potato roll, or go big with the three-patty Gordito. A variety of shakes and drinks. Also serves breakfast.
Flora Café: one at Gates C101-115 and one at Gates C120-139. Inspired by the street food of her native Tel Aviv, Chef Einat Admony designed a health conscious menu for Flora of hummus, tabouleh, babaganoush, shwarma sandwiches, and falafel. She’s well known for her falafel restaurant, Taïm, in Greenwich Village.
Lobster Pod: Gates C120-139. Chowders, lobster bisque, and lobster rolls, among other seafood, and salads. Serves breakfast.
Melange Petit Patisserie: Gates C101-115. Baker Jacques Torres was the executive pastry chef at NYC’s famed Le Cirque and now is CEO (Chocolate Executive Officer) of Jacques Torres Chocolate. At Melange, Torres serves up a variety of breads and sweets in addition to sandwiches and light entrees throughout the day. There are also crepes that can be filled with Nutella and banana, or savory options. Flyers will want to grab Torres’ notable chocolate-laden chocolate chip cookies, alfajors, and a Nutella salted caramel cookie to nibble aboard.
Nonna’s Meatball Kitchen: Gates C120-139. Nonna’s is a meatball lover’s dream. Guests can order traditional Italian meatballs or inventive plates including Swedish meatballs, Vietnamese pho beef balls, even vegetarian “meatballs.” Chef Amanda Freitag helms the Empire Diner in New York.
Origami Sushi: Gates C120-139. At Origami, Chef Ike Aikasa offers a selection of signature sushi, nigiri and specialty rolls. A master Sushi chef, Aikasa honed his skills in Tokyo before making the move to the United States.
Oeno Wine Bar: Gates C70-99. Best known for his Jersey City restaurant Thirty Acres, chef Kevin Pemoulie has created a menu featuring seasonal small plates, salads, and paninis (can be ordered on gluten-free bread) to complement an expansive wine list created by sommelier Chris Cree. Pemoulie, who learned his craft at Momofuku in New York, offers flyers cheese and meat trays, marinated olives, and some small plates like scallop ceviche.
Proof Whiskey Bar: Gates C101-115. Tavern-inspired food and whiskey-centric drinks from chef John DeLucie, who runs The Lion in Greenwich Village and a number of other bar-restaurants known for their décor.
Riviera: Gates C70-99. Alex Guarnaschelli brings classic French fare to life at Riviera, where diners like her take on dishes including grilled oysters, roasted chicken and steak frites. Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network “celebrity” chef, and the executive chef at NYC’s Butter.
Saison: Gates C120-139. Saison is a classic French brasserie, where “le menu” sports dishes like onion soup gratinee, hand-cut beef tartare, and traditional sandwiches like croque monsieur and jambon & beurre. There are daily selections of European cheeses. The chef behind Saison is internationally known Alain Ducasse of France, who, along with burgers, offers flyers some tony dishes such as escargot or roasted bone marrow with parsley gremolata.
Salumeria Prima: Gates C70-99. New York Chef Elizabeth Falkner is the woman behind successful San Francisco restaurants Citizen Cake and Orson. At Salumeria Prima, she offers an expansive list of cheeses sourced from Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village, plus a wide selection of cured meats and accompaniments.
South Philly Steak & Fries: Gates C70-99. Cheesesteaks from Philadelphia – that city’s best culinary export — served on fresh Italian bread with your choice of condiments.
Tagliare: One at Gates C70-99, another at Gates C101-115, and one at Gates C120-139. A “New York slice” with lots of toppings choices. Pizzas can be white or red, stuffed or thin crust. Tagliare is the brainchild of Dominick DeMarco Jr. of the famed Brooklyn Di Fara pizza family.
Vanguard Kitchen: Gates C101-115. James Beard-award-winning Chef Dan Kluger is the man behind Vanguard Kitchen. Here, flyers order from a menu stocked with hyper-seasonal plates, such as a pizza topped with broccoli rabe, fennel pollen, ricotta and parmesan. Burgers and salads are plentiful, Vanguard Kitchen serves breakfast all day. Look for a ham and cheddar sandwich with eggs, Belgian waffles with hazelnut butter, and challah French toast with apple butter. For something a bit healthier, there’s grapefruit and yogurt parfait.
Vesper Tavern: Gates C70-99. At the two restaurants he ran in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Michelin-Star Chef Paul Liebrandt offered diners the chance to enjoy refined and creative cookery. Here Liebrandt gives airport travelers European-inspired fare with lots of healthy options. Serves a hot breakfast.
Vo Bahn Mi: Gates C70-99. Vietnamese food, a welcome addition to the roster of typical airport restaurants. This one serves typical Vietnamese sandwiches, called banh mi, on crusty French baguettes. Also on the menu are vegetable-laden Pho soups with shredded chicken or beef.
Wabi Sabi: Gates C70-99 and one at Gates C120-139. Inspired by Nom Wah, NYC’s oldest Tea Parlor, Wabi-Sabi offers flyers dim sum favorites including various dumplings, fried crab claws, and noodle dishes. Chef is noted New York chef and baker Wilson Tang.